Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Music, Reconsidered

Here's a Christmas song by Rhode Island's Deer Tick, performed out on Cape Cod at the Beachcomber Bar in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, back on August 25.  Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit more than a shirtless, beer-swilling John McCauley in Margaritaville (and why did his band apparently crawl out the window in the middle of the song?).

But, funny thing.  It turns out that Mr. McCauley was just breaking in a new song for a spin-off band called Diamond Rugs ("Damn, I Am On Drugs," get it?).  Since the above performance, they've fleshed the song out and have released it as a single, now titled Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant, even though Diamond Rugs hasn't even played a single live show yet.  

So, Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant got me wondering - what other new Christmas songs are out there?  We've already heard The Mountain Goats sing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, so what else is left?  What's been released this year for Christmas, especially on the indie scene?

Lots as it turns out.  Here's Zooey Deschanel, the She of She & Him, and some guy (Who cares about Him, when She is Zooey Deschanel?) singing The Christmas Waltz:

Maybe you prefer Jessica Lea Mayfield and her song Little Toy Trains:

Our our old friends and Rocktober favorite Wye Oak declare Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day:

On the other hand, The Active Set assert that Making Out Is the Best Part of Christmas:

My Morning Jacket's Jim James joins our old friends and other Rocktober favorite The Head and the Heart to channel Hank Williams, Sr. in When the Bells Start Ringing:

Moody Seattle singer-songwriter, MFNW closer, and fellow Pickwick fan Damian Jurado channels Charlie Brown and Vince Guaraldi  for Christmas Time Is Here:

But wait!  There's more!  Here's Brite Futures performing Last Christmas:

And here are The Barr Brothers singing Dear Mrs Claus:

Then there are the holiday classics, starting with The Hurricane Bells covering Alvin and the Chipmunks:

Singer Rachel Platten in Dr. Seuss territory:

The Phantom Halo Band cover The Who:

Vanessa Carlton covers John Lennon:

And one of my favorites, the almost impossibly great Girl In a Coma, covering the King himself:

But if it's traditional classics you want, here's Oh Holy Night by Warm Ghost (but don't be surprised if it takes you a while to recognize it):

Which brings us to the electronic-music portion of the proceedings.  The Santa-nature is as present in the synthesizer as it is in the sleigh bell, so here's Body Language performing Holiday:

Do I have the remix?  Hell, yeah, I have the remix:

I'm not done by a far shot (no end in sight!).  Here are some terrific originals by some talented songwriters, starting with Dustin Krensue performing Christmas Baby Please Come Home:

The band Eyes Lips Eyes apparently  Slept In Through Christmas:

while Meiko shot her man, but managed to make a sultry Christmas song about it called Maybe Next Year (listen for the God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen riff):

Summer Fiction celebrate Christmas Eve For Two (and a little doo-wop):

The always entertaining Fitz and the Tantrums contribute Santa Stole My Lady:

And saving what may well be the best for last, Low composed an original that has become one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs ever, Just Like Christmas.  Bonus points for the sleigh bells:

We'll end with a blast from the past.  Back in the far, misty recesses of time, in a decade some call "The 1990s," a band called Morphine released their Christmas song, the characteristically moody (for them) Sexy Christmas Baby Mine:

Deck the hall, y'all!

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